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Skullcrushers, Dead Bugs, and Frozen Peas: How Weight Lifting Caused Paradigm Shifting

by Carolyn A. Romano, BLISS Healing Arts

November 2008 

I started working out with a personal trainer in early August, nearly six months to the day before my 40th birthday. Come February, I want to be able to say: "I'm 40, and I'm in the best shape of my life!" So, three mornings a week, June shows up at my door with a stability ball under one arm and a bosu under the other. She is always smiling and eager to help me achieve my fitness goals all of which revolve around, well, getting fit. 

Let me tell you, it is HARD. Harder than I ever thought it would be. I sweat buckets. My heart pounds in my chest (and we haven't even gotten past the warm up!). The day after a workout it often hurts to sit or to stand or to lie down. Bags of frozen peas draped around my neck are now part of my wardrobe. In moments of distraction, I find myself contemplating the ground hamburger meat that were once my triceps. I reminisce over crazy things like the wall sit I did for sixty seconds during Monday's workout, or I absentmindedly run my fingers lightly over the rug burns I earned while trying feverishly to maintain a plank. (I didn't know what these were either.)

June puts me through my paces for sure. We (and by "we" I mean "I") complete two sets of some torturous balance-on-one-leg-jump-over-a-rope-while-doing-a-bicep-curl sort of exercise.  I'm limp on the floor dripping those buckets of sweat I mentioned earlier, trying to catch my breath, and stretching muscles that seem to have assumed a permanent state of contraction. In the fitness world, these brief interludes are referred to as "recovery time."

In the midst of "recovering," a frightening thought occurs to me and I blurt out, "Oh no, do I have to do another set of those?"  June looks at me, smiles, and says, "No, you don't have to. You get to."

Simple words but they have quite an impact. In fact, they would likely have bowled me over had I not already been in a heap on the floor. I realized in that moment that--since Day One--I had been resenting every lunge, curl, lift, twist, and bend that she asked me to do. 

I also realized in that same moment that she is absolutely right: I don't have to do any of this. I get to do all of it. How lucky am I? I get to have someone show up at my home three days a week and focus entirely on supporting me to be healthy. I get to challenge my body and my mind with just one more set of dead bugs or skullcrushers or crabwalks. I get to see results like more strength and stamina and energy available for my life. Yes, I get to have this experience. The agony of it. The ecstasy of it. And it's all good.

Of course, the metaphysical lesson I glean from this shift in perception does not escape me either. I'm sure you see it, too. It's not unlike Henry Ford's saying, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." How we approach what we do, how we hold ourselves in relationship to what is going on around us is within our control. We truly get to decide the ground we stand upon.

Life delights us. Life challenges us. How lucky that we get to be in the midst of it all. The agonies. The ecstasies. And it's all good.     

Now drop and give me 20!

                     P.S. June can be reached at junemelia@yahoo.com


Copyright 2008 Carolyn A. Romano. All Rights Reserved.      www.blisshealingarts.com
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